I hope you didn’t miss last weeks blog too much. While heat is good for growing crops, the benefit decreases above 90 degrees. Thankfully the inch of rain last night came at the perfect time. Not only did it help to break up the heat and cool the soil, but it also made sure my crops were well watered so I can go on vacation and not worry about coming home to wilted plants. This weeks basket is the basket of root crops. They have grown very well and are ahead of schedule. The downfall is that it has totally taken the lettuce and spinach out of commission, even much of the later planted spinach. Conditions are never perfect for everything. Conditions that grow good lettuce are different than conditions that put tomatoes on the vine. That is why there is a definite succession of crops throughout the year. I think that makes it more fun to eat, and when conditions are good for a particular crop, the flavor can be amazing.
So whats amazing in your basket this week?
Golden Beets: These are touchstone golden beets. They are amazing anyway you use traditional beets, but without the mess. When I first started growing odd colored vegetables years ago, my traditional mother was not so keen on them. She was used to beets and tomatoes being red and beans being green. Sometimes standard colors are better, but often the different varieties have a much different taste. That was the case with the golden beets. Now when ever I plant beets, Ma is sure to ask if I have enough golden beets. Their only downfall is that germination is not as good and seed is more than twice the cost with the gold beets as the red. So if you see golden beets with a higher price at the farmers market, that is why. Keep them stored int he fridge unwashed.
Carrots: There are two varieties of carrots, Yellow Stone and Juan de Doubs. The yellow carrots are amazing roasted, but eat them as you like. Store them in the fridge as they are.
Radish: Cherry Bell. This later planting came in beautifully so hopefully you are not too sick of radishes. Works well to wash them before refrigerate, or just throw them in a bowl of water and eat as a snack with some salt and butter.
Potatoes: You will have the basic Red Norland and also the Purple Viking. Both are very versatile but this time of year are best boiled, mashed, roasted, creamed or my favorite, cooked in a foil packet on the grill with carrots, onions butter and herbs. Store at room temperature, but eat soon. The plants are still green and so the potatoes are not cured well yet. If left at room temperature too long (more than 4 days or so) they will become soft.
String Beans: The beans are just coming in. There will be a mix Jade, Royal Burgundy and Golden Stick, but most this week are the green Jade. Due to some flooding the early beans didn’t come so well but the later plantings are terrific. They could be creamed with the potatoes or just boiled or steamed, but don’t overcook. The beans are a little dirty due to the rain, but didn’t wash them as if they are washed and then stored they have a tendency to get rusty in the fridge. Just tie the bag shut and refrigerate until use.
Fresh Garlic. The scapes are done and this week I will be harvesting the garlic, hopefully before I leave for vacation. This is fresh garlic so it should be stored in the refridgerator if you are not going to use it within 2 days.
Finally your basket has some little scallion onions, a bunch of fresh cilantro, and my very first summer squash. there not many of these little babies yet but you all know how summer squash goes…. pretty soon we will be swimming in it.
I figure most of you have your favorite ways of preparing these treats so I will spare you on the multitude of recipes, but i will share a great way to use beets. This is taken from an Ina Garten cook book. I think everything that woman whips up is amazing. These roasted beets are no exception.
Thanks again and we will see you next week at our regularilly scheduled time.
3 tablespoons olive oil
¾ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
Juice of one orange
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Remove tops from beets and peel each one with a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets in 1 ½ inch chunks.
3. Place the cut beets on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, turning once or twice, until the beets are tender.
4. Remove from the oven and immediately toss with the vinegar and orange juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve warm.